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Commodity Buffers

A commodity buffer is a strip of perennial vegetation established at the edge of a waterway. Qualified waterways include streams, rivers, creeks, ditches, springs, wet areas, drainages, or shorelines. Commodity buffers capture sediment and filter nutrients, pesticides, and animal waste from agricultural runoff. They also provide wildlife habitat and establish wildlife corridors.

 The commodity buffer program compensates a producer for the true value of the ground, can help provide regulatory certainty for the agricultural community, and protects water quality. Commodity buffer payments are calculated based on the water body type, farming practices in place, and adjacent crops. Trees and shrubs may also be incorporated for an additional payment.


Install and maintain required buffer size according to the type of waterway, tillage practice, and associated Soil Tillage Intensity Rating.

Producers or landowners must maintain the selected practice for a minimum of three years.

Practices can be a filter strip (grass only, or grass/forb mix) or a native riparian forest (grasses, trees, and shrubs).

Commodity buffers cannot be burned.

Haying and mowing must occur after July 1st.


Minimum payment of $200/acre per year on eligible acres.

Compensation rates are valued at or above adjacent crop rotations (based on USDA Risk Management Agency's projected crop prices).

Compensation for buffers will change annually, to adjust for fluctuations in higher market values.


Existing buffers qualify! 

Incentive payments are based on buffer size, tillage practices, addition of woody species, and type of buffer (including existing).


Can assist producer toward Farmed Smart Certification eligibility.


Can help provide regulatory certainty.

Reduces suspended and associated contaminants (ie. nutrients, pesticides and bio-solids) in runoff.

Can be grazed or hayed (with appropriate planning requirements).

Can be single species or multi-species mix such as: 

timothy, timothy/alfalfa, orchard grass/alfalfa, bluegrass, and timothy/white clover/orchard grass/tall fescue/annual rye.

The table below shows examples of payments made in 2023 based on yield, farming practices, and USDA RMA projected crop prices.  

Commodity Buffer Prices 2023.PNG

View our Commodity Buffer program flyer here.

For more information on our commodity buffer program, please contact:
Andrew Mackey | | (509) 553-3032

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